Veteran nurse Poiva Reid, a keynote speaker at the ceremony, reminded the audience that the tradition of training local American Samoans as registered nurses dates back to the era of the Naval administration. She also mentioned the hardships she and her classmates had to live while training as nurses before World War II.
“They expected us trainees to act as housekeepers, janitors and even gardeners,” said Reid, “and during our first year we had to clean the inside and outside of the hospital every morning. Some of my classmates couldn’t put up with this and quit the training.”
She reminded the graduates, as well as the students in the hall, that they are not in the profession to make money, but rather to care for sick people. In her third year as a nurse, she was earning $3 a month. “Believe it or not, this was big money back then,” Reid told the astonished audience.
Next to the caps and pins, two more graduates were awarded distinctions during the ceremony. Sandy Nua-Ahoia received the American Samoa Nurses Association Award, and also received the ASCC Nursing Department Award together with her classmate Ritchell Toribio.
Head of ASCC Nursing Department Lele Ah Mu showed her recognition for the support the program has received from the local health authorities as well as the community. She described how the Nursing curriculum will evolve in 2011 at ASCC and she mentioned that for the next spring she will add Ofu and Olosega to the schedule for the Community Health clinical experience for the Practical Nursing students. In a recent report, a student expressed:
“This experience will provide them the opportunity to utilize all of their knowledge from the classroom and basic skills learned from the hospital, and apply it to assist clients in caring for themselves at home,” she said.
As a final note, Ah Mu mentioned that the Pacific Island Network for Nursing Education Directors (PINNED) was interested in including ASCC in a documentary next year.
“They have expressed an interest in interviewing Governor Togiola, and also in filming of our students and faculty as they interact on campus, at LBJ and in the community. We expect this will take place sometime in April,” explained Ah Mu.